Thursday, September 24, 2009

Water saving with dual flush toilets

I was up in Calgary, Canada for vacation this summer, and was very happy to see all of the energy conservation measures being put to practice in homes, hotels and businesses. One thing that really caught my eye, were the dual flush toilets, which were even evident in the airport. With a dual flush, you pull the lever up for liquid for a half flush, down for solid for a full flush – thus cutting you water usage markedly. Old style toilets use about five gallons per flush, the new low flows use about 1.6 gallons. In either case, this amount can be cut in half most of the time using the dual flush.

Replacing a perfectly good toilet just to have a dual flush seems impractical, and, although our local recycle center, like many others, does accept, and consequently pulverize donated toilets, this still does not seem like an energy conscious move. The solution, a dual flush conversion kit that can change any toilet into a dual flush, even low flows. We now carry this item on our website,, in the water section.

Here is a some info on how dual flush toilets operate, sourced from the “How Stuff Works” website.

The way water is used to remove waste from the bowl has a lot to do with how much water is needed to get the job done. Standard toilets use siphoning action, a method that employs a siphoning tube, to evacuate waste. A high volume of water entering the toilet bowl when the toilet's flushed fills the siphon tube and pulls the waste and water down the drain. When air enters the tube, the siphoning action stops. Dual flush toilets employ a larger trapway (the hole at the bottom of the bowl) and a wash-down flushing design that pushes waste down the drain. Because there's no siphoning action involved, the system needs less water per flush, and the larger diameter trapway makes it easy for waste to exit the bowl. Combined with the savings from using only half-flushes for liquid waste, the dual flush toilet design can save up to 68 percent more water than a conventional low flow toilet [source: Green Building].

The dual flush toilet uses a larger diameter trapway that doesn't clog as often as a conventional toilet, needs less water to flush efficiently and saves more water than a low flow toilet when flushing liquid waste.